Lipoma vs well-differentiated liposarcoma

Dr Tom Foster and Dr Henry Knipe et al.

There a number of features that can help distinguish between lipoma and well-differentiated liposarcoma. This article relates to superficial well-differentiated liposarcomas that typically occur in the extremities, and not retroperitoneal liposarcoma.


Demographic factors that favor well-differentiated liposarcoma are age >60 years and male sex 1

Radiographic features


MRI can have 100% sensitivity for the diagnosis of well-differentiated liposarcomas, however, has a low positive predictive value due to overlap of imaging features with benign lipoma variants 2. Features that favor well-differentiated liposarcoma 1-3:

  • size >10 cm
  • percentage fat <75%
  • thick or nodular (>2 mm) septae
  • nodular/globular areas
  • prominent high T2 signal foci
  • prominent enhancement
  • associated non-adipose mass
  • lower limb location
  • intramuscular location

Features that favor lipoma 1-3:

  • size <10 cm
  • percentage fat >75%
  • no or few thin (<2 mm) septae
  • no or minimal enhancement
  • no or minimal high T2 signal foci
  • subcutaneous location
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Article information

rID: 68800
Section: Gamuts
Tag: cases
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Lipoma versus well-differentiated liposarcoma

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